Saturday, June 7, 2014

From the Office of the County Clerk - G62: Astros @ Twins

Dallas Keuchel (6-3, 2.70) vs Phil Hughes (6-1, 3.12)

If you're among the lucky few who get to watch CSN Houston, or if you live in a state that doesn't touch Texas and you have MLB.TV, then you may be in on this little secret - the Astros are actually kinda fun to watch again. Owners of the best record in the AL West (and second best in the AL) since May 11, Houston rolled into Minneapolis tonight to face another last place team. But once more, these Astros did not play like a last-place team. Keyed by three big swings, the Astros take the series opener from the Twins with a 5-4 final. They climb back to 8 games under .500 at 27-35.

On the Mound:

*101 pitches ended Dallas Keuchel's night after 6 innings. But for as long as he was in the game, Kid Keuchy pitched like the All-Star contender that almost we've come to expect from him now. 5 hits, 2 walks, and a Matt Dominguez throwing error were all of no consequence, as Keuchel finished with a 6 IP / 5 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 6 K line.

*The honeymoon is over for Tony Sipp. After 9 scoreless appearances to start his Houston career, Tony finally allowed a run his last time out. Tonight, he allowed three (all earned), on three hits including a homer in 0.2 of an inning.

*Jerome Williams got the final out of the 7th, then two more in the 8th, before back-to-back doubles pulled the Twins within a run, and Bo Porter pulled Jerome from the game.

*Darin Downs did the LOOGY thing, facing and retiring one lefty to end the 8th.

*Chad Qualls got the call for the second straight night in the 9th, and would have had a 1-2-3 inning for the save, were it not for Matt Dominguez' second throwing error of the night. But Chad got out #4 in short order nonetheless, earning his 7th save.

At the Plate:

*Led by the long ball, Houston only stranded 2 LOBsters in their 5-run, 8-hit attack tonight.

*Marwin Gonzalez (1x3) opened the scoring in the 3rd, with his second home run of the season.

*Along with the errors, Matt Dominguez had a busy night. His solo HR in the 4th (#9 on the year) gave the Astros their second run tonight, and he singled twice more to finish 3x4.

*Jose Altuve got Houston's only non-HR RBI, with a single scoring Dexter Fowler in the 6th. Jose himself soon scored, too, and he finished 1x4.

*That run for Dexter Fowler came after he tripled, and he also helped Jerome Williams with a gorgeous golden gem of a catch to rob Trevor Plouffe in the 8th. Dexter finished 1x4.

*King George Springer had the ultimate deciding blow, with a 2-run shot for his team-leading 11th, ending his night 1x4.

*Jason Castro had the other Astro hit, going 1x4.

Turning Point:

While the Astros led 2-0 on a pair of solo homers already, it was their 3-run 6th that would decide the game. Dexter Fowler led off with a triple. Jose Altuve drove him home with a single. Then George Springer with the 2-run dinger gave Houston the 5-0 lead they would need to survive their shaky bullpen on this night.

Man of the Match:

Dallas Keuchel. If both he and Altuve are not representing the Astros on July 15 back here in Minnesota, then there is no justice in the world.

Goat of the Game:

Tony Sipp. He's been a revelation for the Astros bullpen, but this was not his night.